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New Komen CEO Makes Appearance At Dallas Conference

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - For the first time North Texas is hearing from the new President and CEO of the Komen Organization. Friday, Doctor was introduced during a conference in Dallas.

When Salerno officially starts on September 9 she will replace Komen founder Nancy Brinker, who is stepping down as CEO and moving to a new role.

CBS 11 News reporter Stephanie Lucero sat down and talked to Salerno about reviving the breast cancer organization that since making some decisions considered controversial has lost supporters and donations.

At the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas Friday they were busy trying to pump up the energy and shake off the controversy that led to a shakeup in leadership within Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Speaking to the crowd founder Nancy Brinker said, "Our annual conference really is a time for excitement and reunion."

Brinker started the organization in 1982 after she promised her dying sister she would work to fight breast cancer.

Brinker, 67, announced in August that she would leave her position as CEO -- part of the fallout after Komen's announcement last year the organization would not give grants to Planned Parenthood because the organization performed abortions. Komen quickly reversed their decision, a move that angered those on both sides of the debate.

Brinker's new title will be Founder and Chairman of Global Strategies.

Affiliates from all over the country were introduced to Brinker's replacement Friday during the Komen's annual leadership conference. Dr. Salerno told the group, "There's an energy here that's not only tangible but it's uplifting. "

When asked, Salerno wouldn't discuss the controversy that rocked the organization. "I frankly don't see any relevance to this issue and it certainly is not anything that is going to enter into my decision-making in this organization," she said.

Dr. Salerno says she won't look back, but looking ahead, numerous Komen races in key cities have been cancelled and financial support is down. The new president was selected to reignite the organization and turn it around.

"It's certainly a new day for Komen and it's a new day because all those other things, all those things were distractions and now we're focused," Salerno asserted.

That focus, Komen officials say, is the mission of eradicating breast cancer.

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